Got a buddy that was checking out your Ian Tyson model recently and wanted to know what I thought. "Beautiful guitar at a good price AND a return policy..BUY IT" was my reply while twisting his arm. Then I made the comment "If I ever bought one, I'd pick the Opeongo". After he ordered his guitar, which arrives in November he ordered ME the Opeongo which arrived last Thursday!
When I opened the custom case I was struck by how beautiful it looked. The size, shape, slot head, and OMG THE TRIM ties everything together. Love the fact that it wasn't made to be cute or fancy. The very clean looking top will age well, bringing out the grain more. The open pore sides and back AND the overall lack of a high gloss reminds you that it IS crafted wood. I believe this also keeps the sound of the woods purer! Also the pick guard is thankfully NOT installed because it looks awesome without it and since I'm not a strummer, I don't need it.
As I picked it up it was very light and balanced. With ANY instrument, getting into a good, useful playing position is crucial. The size and feel of the body and neck would feel comfortable on a couch or resting on the right leg BUT this isn't how I would suggest playing it. After playing it for a bit I noticed that holding it lighter, more in a classical position and away from my belly there appears another voice which adds so much to the overall dynamics. The sustain and volume is surprising and it's voices are versatile and unique. Depending how you play it, you can coax the sound to suit your needs. No...it isn't a heavy strummer or a hard flatpicking guitar but I was playing old timey music, classical, churchy, and blues with it sounding appropriate. The biggest surprise was when I used a capo! I noticed that it STAYS IN TUNE. I'm one of those nitpickers that hear when something is out of tune. I use the capo most of the time so I'm used to the "tricks" of sweetening the sound after the capo is put on. I was shocked when I didn't "need" to. The action is perfect and I can cleanly play things on the Opeongo that I cannot play on my other guitars.
If I had my druthers I would like the neck to be an 1-7/8". If I had a better left hand position instead of a "hillbilly" wraparound thumb position I might feel differently. The shallow neck profile is enough different that I have to adjust for this.
Wishlist: I think that a double high strung 12 string in this size would be an awesome instrument!
My rating on the Opeongo out of 5 stars is a 4.99!